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Phronesis | The Behemoth

Cat No: EDN1085
Barcode: 5060509790036 (CD)
LC Code: 28731
Format: CD  & Download

Jasper Høiby double bass
Ivo Neame piano
Anton Eger drums

Julian Argüelles arranger & conductor
Frankfurt Radio Big Band


“A cocktail of greatness!” JAMIE CULLUM BBC RADIO 2 (UK)

“…memorable music…There’s plenty for Phronesis fans, and for big-band jazz admirers, too.” THE GUARDIAN (UK)

“The jazz trio delivers a great combination of beauty and complexity…Phronesis performs beautiful jazz of the finest caliber in conjunction with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band.” POLITIKEN (DK)

“…this disc—their seventh and most ambitious to date—may help forge further inroads in the U.S…There’s superb collective musicianship throughout. But ultimately, the star of the session is arranger (and conductor) Argüelles, whose task was a daunting one. Phronesis’ music is dense, with darting 16th notes that make ensemble clutter a challenge. But the arrangements allow Phronesis to fully be themselves while the big band artfully complements their rhythmic momentum and contributes glorious harmonic colors.” DOWNBEAT (US)

“While this is a big beast of a record, it’s one that’s surprisingly light on its feet…the album sees the trio’s back catalogue cast in dazzling, widescreen big band arrangements courtesy of sax player, bandleader, arranger and conductor Julian Argüelles…it would be difficult to imagine anyone other than Argüelles…taking on arranging and conducting duties and pulling off such an impressive imaginative feat.” THE ARTS DESK (UK)

“Arguelles has liberated both Phronesis and the orchestra to do what they each do best. You’ll gaze amazed as this dragon dances.” JAZZWISE MAGAZINE (UK)

“This multi-faceted major recording…is augmented by one of the world’s hottest big bands. Argüelles’s superb arrangements, combined with virtuoso performances all around, contribute to making this a must-hear release.” ALL ABOUT JAZZ (UK)

“The Scandinavian/British trio Phronesis have been tearing up jazz stages for a decade now, finding new routes through their music and reimagining a back catalogue of tunes as mercurial as they are groove-laden… audacious ensemble vamps, virtuoso solos on trumpet and guitar and muscular surround sound by one of the most intuitive big bands going. Mighty.” LONDON EVENING STANDARD (UK)

“…a wonderful example of widescreen jazz” RECORD COLLECTOR (UK)

“Both (Frankfurt Radio Big Band and Phronesis) have an organic connection, like they have internalized the opposite’s being to become one with each other. They breathe on the same rhythm and are melting together without losing themselves.” JAZZ PODIUM (DE)

“Phronesis is a true monster, in the positive sense, as the band is presenting a new and exciting series of older songs, under the direction of Julian Argüelles.” JAZZTHING (DE)

“An effort, which has paid off artistically absolutely.” SWR2 (DE)

“In essence, Phronesis, together with Julian Agüelles and his Frankfurt Radio Big Band have  recorded a fantastic album with The Behemoth, tonally balanced, spatially authentic and musically fantastic. What more do you want?”HI RES MAC (DE)

“…the original compositions, arrangements and the interaction between the trio and big band – The Behemoth is quite an experience. It is as if Phronesis’ energetic powerful expressions get a tooth or two extra. And that’s cool. And fascinating.” IVAN ROD (DK)

“This is such an album, although it is instrumental, that it says a thousand more things than many performers manage to say in an entire career.” GAFFA (SE)

“The Behemoth is a dream album. So incredibly rich in playing and timbre. An album to constantly rediscover and marvel again.” WRITTEN IN MUSIC (NL)

“The group has some magnificent albums in their catalogue but in ‘The Behemoth’, the successor to ‘Parallax’, they go even further…”The Behemoth” is colourful, inventive and takes Phronesis’s work further on their creative way.” DA MUSIC (NL)

“…the care that has gone into the arrangements continues to bear fruit. The three Phronesis musicians do everything to squeeze something new out of the songs and regularly clash with the orchestra. That works. Slowly you forget the original versions.” DE VOLKSKRANT (NL)

“The Behemoth” is sure to surprise fans of the trio Phronesis, but not in a bad way. It’s still the same team, but enriched with unprecedented nuances. The basis of any fine art is the search for new ways to express artistic creation, and Phronesis from its inception has followed this rule. Let it be so forever. Another sensational (revolutionary?) disc from the stables of Edition Records, which strengthens our belief in the beauty of jazz music’s perpetual motion.” LABORATORY OF MUSIC FUSION (PL)

“…Julian Argüelles sets the wind instruments very sharply and succinctly, working with volume and colors, where previously the tension dominated from frigidity and intensity. He has arranged ten pieces for the Big Band…, and each one exploits the possibilities of the large sound body.” RONDO CLASSICS & JAZZ MAGAZINE (DE)

“The album can therefore be unreservedly recommended to fans of modern jazz music and lovers of contemporary big band sounds.” R JAZZ (CZ)

“This new album, with its expanded world of sound, provides a new light on the trio’s timeless music, showcasing the extraordinary ability of three superlative musicians.” THE AUSTRALIAN (AUS)

“A few tracks have already been released but at the tail end of last week the third and arguably most impressive arrived – ‘Stillness’. It is, frankly, bonkers, blending big band instrumentation with the pared down style of the original version of the tune, which first appeared on Parallax. Argüelles oversaw the rearrangement himself and the way his stylings combine with what’s already been laid down is striking, to say the least. The presence of the Frankfurt Radio Big Band only serves to intensify the sound even further.” CULTURED VULTURES (UK)


Phronesis have built a formidable reputation over the last decade as one of the most powerful and energetic small ensembles on the European jazz scene. Known for their virtuosity, roller-coaster live performances and telepathic group interplay, the trio have commanded impressive media attention and established a substantial fanbase on a global level. Following six critically acclaimed trio albums, the band have now completed their most ambitious recording to date with the release of The Behemoth. Consisting of ten new arrangements of compositions from their back catalogue by Julian Argüelles, commissioned for their tenth anniversary, this remarkable, vibrant new album featuring the Frankfurt Radio Big Band is rich in colour and bursting with spirit and creativity.

Julian Argüelles​ plays a pivotal role throughout this album, as arranger and conductor, and also appears as a soloist on Eger’s ‘​Urban Control’. The founder member of ‘Loose Tubes’, and a critically acclaimed bandleader in his own right, he was also a longtime member of the Frankfurt Radio Big Band​, and ​The Behemoth confirms his deep understanding of the band, writing for individual players he knows well, in addition to his masterful ability as an ensemble arranger and conductor. All three members of the trio have been long time admirers of Argüelles’s playing, writing and arranging and when an opportunity arose for them to collaborate, they all jumped at the chance. The Frankfurt Radio Big Band have an impressive story, having been one of the key radio big bands in Europe for many years, collaborating with a plethora of international jazz artists. Tackling the music of Phronesis is no easy task for any large ensemble, but with Argüelles at the helm, they met the challenge with a creative energy.

The big band forces provide a vast colour palette for Argüelles and he has fully utilised all the sumptuous sonic resources and added his own aesthetic, breathing re-imagined life into the trio’s own-choice of material from their back catalogue. “We are constantly discovering new routes through our music when we play as a trio, so a re-interpretation of our compositions in a big band setting seemed like a natural and particularly scenic follow-on to this” Neame explains.

Over six albums, Phronesis have developed a bold, mesmerising and instantaneously recognisable sound. They have performed widely across Europe and taken their engaging grooves, irresistible rhythmic energy and breathtaking group interplay to concert stages and festivals across the world from Morocco to Brazil and Australia to North America. The brilliantly expanded sound world of The Behemoth sheds a fascinating new light on the trio’s timeless music, and demonstrates the extraordinary ability of three superlative musicians who continue to surprise, excite and inspire audiences worldwide.


1. Ok Chorale (Ivo Neame) 3.49
2. Untitled#1 (Jasper Høiby) 6.58
3. Stillness (Jasper Høiby) 9.09
4. Herne Hill (Anton Eger) 4.55
5. Charm Defensive (Ivo Neame) 6.36
6. Zieding (Anton Eger) 9.46 | LISTEN
7. Phraternal (Ivo Neame) 6.53
8. Intro to Urban Control (Julian Argüelles & Anton Eger) 2.49
9. Urban Control (Anton Eger) 7.45
10. Happy Notes (Jasper Høiby) 6.07

Total 64.48


Julian Argüelles arranger, conductor (tenor saxophone solo on #9)

Frankfurt Radio Big Band (hr-Bigband):
Heinz-Dieter Sauerborn ss/as/fl/picc
Oliver Leicht as/cl (clarinet solo on #3)
Tony Lakatos ts/a-fl (tenor solo on #1)
Steffen Weber ts (tenor solo on #3)
Rainer Heute bs/b-cl
Frank Wellert tp/flh
Thomas Vogel tp/flh
Martin Auer tp/flh (trumpet solo on #8)
Axel Schlosser tp/flh (trumpet solo on #6)
Günter Bollmann tb
Peter Feil tb (trombone solo on #4)
Christian Jaksjø tb/b-tp (bass trumpet solo on #5)
Manfred Honetschläger b-tb
Martin Scales g (guitar solos on #2 and #10)

Recorded at Hörfunkstudio II by Axel Gutzler, Hessischer Rundfunk, Frankfurt am Main in September 2016
Recording engineer: Michael Wayszack
Mixed at Virkeligheden in Copenhagen by August Wanngren in November 2016
Mastered by Peter Beckmann in London in December 2016
Producer: Phronesis & Hessischer Rundfunk
Producer Frankfurt Radio Big Band: Olaf Stötzler
Executive Producer: Dave Stapleton

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